Feb. 6, 2023
A lot of leaders are hurting right now. I’ve had several interactions with pastors and ministry leaders who have been criticized, are feeling the heavy burden of ministry and/or are feeling symptoms of burnout. One of the Scripture passages that has come to mind as I listen to these men and women is Psalm 59:16-17: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” Take heart leaders – God loves you and is your strength and refuge!
1. Thanks to so many of you who continue to pray for my wife, Janna, and her health issues. On Jan. 23 she had kyphoplasty surgery to repair a compression fracture in her lower spine. Although this has helped alleviate some intense pain associated with this fracture, she is experiencing new symptoms in her lower back that may indicate further treatment is needed. She hopes to have an MRI early this week to determine what is occurring and what needs to be done. Then, when healing of her back is more complete, she will begin preparing for the knee replacement surgery we have been waiting to have done since early January. As I mentioned last time, we’re ready to get this all completed so she can begin healing. Janna and I love to garden together, and that is just around the corner. God is faithful!
2. This week I’ll be traveling to Spokane, Wash., to spend some time with pastor Boris Borisov and other leaders of Pacific Keep, an MB church planted a few years ago. This church, along with Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church in Spokane, another MB church, are highly influential in a city-wide program called Thrive International. This is an amazing ministry for Ukrainian refugees, providing housing and helping them settle in our country. These refugees have temporary legal resident status as we provide refuge for those fleeing the terrible war in Ukraine. To find out more about this incredible work being done by MBs, visit www.thriveint.org/thrive-center.
3. USMB staff members Henri Ngolo, Integrated Immigrant Coordinator, and Brian Harris, Church Planting Mobilizer, continue to work hard with their respective responsibilities, building a lot of connections and casting vision for enhancing our ministry to immigrants and for a national church planting vision. Henri and I will be in the Fresno/Bakersfield area Feb. 24-26 and will take part in Butler MB Church’s Conference Sunday on Feb. 26. We also plan to meet with pastors/leaders in the Bakersfield area Friday afternoon, Feb. 24.
4. The National Pastors Orientation (NPO) planning committee is close to finalizing plans for the next NPO that is scheduled for April 17-19 in San Diego. If your church has a new or fairly new pastor (lead, associate, worship, children’s, etc), make sure they attend the NPO, and with their spouse if married. It’s a great time for them to learn more about our USMB family and get connected.
5. Several USMB Winter/Spring LEAD Cohorts have just begun, and we have a lot of people taking part. If you’re still interested in joining a cohort, we can get you connected. Just contact Janae Rempel at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll assist you. But, do so soon!
6. This may seem self-serving but I don’t intend for it to. I’m mentioning this as part of my belief that God delights in calling His people to fund the mission of His work. What I’m getting at is asking this prayer for 2023: that our churches would unite in helping fund the ministry of the U.S. Conference and their own districts. We’re in this together! We have a mission!
7. The CORD program continues to gain momentum. This is a platform where existing MB churches can partner with a Congolese church (MB). And look at this: MB Foundation will match, dollar for dollar, up to $27,500, funds needed to support one Congolese congregation in the CORD Program. The first church to receive funding has been selected, and this will be announced soon.
8. Please pray for me that the Lord might grant discernment, direction, wisdom, compassion, understanding, gentleness and grace. Also, please pray for our dedicated USMB staff! Thanks for your prayers!
USMB National Director
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